Today’s issue of WorkCompRecap features the Ohio BWC’s recent announcement that its Board has approved a new rule discouraging surgery and opioid use in favor of conservative therapy for workers with lower back injuries.
Under the new spinal fusion rule, workers will be required to first undergo at least 60 days of comprehensive conservative care before considering a surgical option, including physical therapy, chiropractic care and rest, anti-inflammatories, ice and other non-surgical treatments. The new rule follows several studies of BWC Data that found fusion patients suffered considerably worse outcomes, including chronic opioid dependence, increased disability and high rates of failed back syndrome, as well as additional surgery and new psychiatric co-morbidities. There will be exceptions to the rule (for fractures and other cases), and the BWC noted that it is primarily trying to ensure incorporation of best clinical practices, and make workers aware of their treatment options and the potential outcomes. The rule now moves to a bipartisan review committee and if approved would become effective Jan 1, 2018.
Find out more (including a lumbar fusion “need to know” guide!) by clicking here!